Kitchen Design: Focal Point

By Sue LeVee, Kitchen Designer

In a companion article I am discussing putting together your kitchen’s color palette, and I found myself repeatedly referring to the Focal Point. So I decided to take a moment and talk about why you need to consider this when designing your kitchen!
      Focal point  noun: a center of activity, interest, or attention
When putting together a color palette, I like to consider the room’s focal point, or “the star of the show”. What area or item do you see ‘popping’? Where is the eye drawn?

Neutral Kitchen: In a monochromatic color scheme, similar tones are used throughout the space and more attention in given to textures. None of the fixtures plays a leading role – none are the “star”. Clients often feel this creates an open feeling, a relaxing space. Visual interest is often provided by the accessories: artwork, glassware, or a pottery collection for example. When I create this neutral background, these featured items can be changed out with the homeowners changing taste or interest. I often see this kitchen done in tones of cream or gray:

                 Monochromatic sound boring to you? Then let’s pick a star for your kitchen…

Cabinetry: Your cabinets will have a big visual impact in your kitchen space – after all, they cover your walls from floor to ceiling! If you fall in love with a rich cherry style, or maybe that perfect shade of cream, you may decide to put your cabinets in the spotlight. Your wall color, your backsplash, even your countertops are chosen to highlight the color of your cabinetry. And when I say spotlight, I mean it literally – accent lighting will showcase your cabinets. It doesn't have to be every cabinet on every wall, you can choose an area to showcase, like a sink or range wall. Cabinets that are open or have glass doors are an especially dramatic feature area when lit.

Countertops: If you love natural or man-made stone or other unique materials, then your countertops would be a great focal point. We will leave the cabinetry, flooring and wall colors in more neutral tones, and let your countertops stand out. You could choose countertops in a dramatic or contrasting color, or with an interesting pattern and movement. Against a homogenous background, countertops will draw the eye!

Island: Some clients love getting creative with their islands, and what a great centerpiece it can be! An island can be perfect for showcasing that furniture piece, or introducing a new pattern or color. The perimeter cabinetry, walls, and countertops are treated as ‘background’, and done in matching, neutral tones. This allows the island to stand out, and draw the eye. I also like to incorporate display areas into island cabinets – this offers the homeowner a chance to change the accessories to reflect the season, or changing tastes.

Backsplash: Another popular location for adding visual interest is the backsplash area. The options are incredible, and whether you are drawn to interesting textures, dramatic colors, or modern metallics, there are so many ways to make a statement. When choosing the rest of your palette, keep the colors and tones similar, especially the cabinetry and countertop, so that the backsplash can really shine. Your backsplash is one of the last items to be installed, which allows you additional time to make your final choice. You can even begin using your new kitchen while deciding!

The important thing to remember is that I don’t suggest too many patterns or colors vying with each other for the dominant position. You don’t want your eye bouncing around the space, not knowing where to settle. Pick a “star of the show” and let it shine!

Posted by Sue LeVee

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